I remember a story one of my pastors told me that when they had invited guests over during the winter, they had prepared a casserole beforehand for their guests and set it out on the back porch to cool. When their guests arrived, and it was time to eat, they went out to get the casserole. Much to their dismay, the dish was empty, and apparently cleaned as if there never had been a casserole. Wondering what had happened, they looked around and noticed their sweet Labrador had also been outside, and was now contentedly licking her lips and looking for a nice spot to take a nap. They had forgotten she was outside.
If you were in this situation, I ask, would you be able to laugh about it with your guests, or would you panic and believe it to be a catastrophe? Would you worry about what your guests thought about you? Would you convince yourself that it was horrible that you failed to provide them with a home-cooked meal, or would you accept your disappointment and figure out from where you might order in?
I admit there was a time in my life that I would have seen this as a total catastrophe. I would have been horrified and ashamed. I would have needed lots of reassurance. Thankfully, I think I would cope with it better now. I have worked hard at shifting my inner thoughts and have reserved the words horrible or awful for things that really deserve it. It doesn’t always come easily, but if I work at it, I can do it.
We all worry about things from time to time. It is natural to have concerns, and it is important to be realistic about life’s challenges. However, if we allow our fears to invade our daily thought life, we are robbed of enjoyment and freedom from fear. It is the enemy’s goal to rob us of things that God has given us. One of the things he wants to rob us of is peace of mind. Worry and peace really are incompatible. God comforts us and assures us that peace comes from Him and that we can possess it even in the midst of awful circumstances. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7). His peace guards us and surrounds us, even in the darkest of times.
There are times in our lives when anyone would be confounded by our peace, but God gives it to us in an eternal perspective, and it is wrapped in His love for us. We know that even when things on earth go wrong, we will be with Him one day, free from the pain we endure on Earth. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor. 4:16–18).
The most important thing to do when wrestling with the problem of worry in our lives is to explore what Scripture says about worry:
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
We are of great value to God, and He promises to take care of us. Recognizing our value to Him soothes the worry wart inside of us. When we worry we need to remember how much God cares about us.
*Excerpt taken from The Journey Out, Chapter 3, The Weed of Worry vs. The Fruit of Peace
Blessings to you, Gretchen